Amanda Nunes destroyed Ronda Rousey at UFC 207, making it the second loss for Rousey and the first title defense for Nunes. After Rousey’s title loss to Holly Holm in 2015, many were waiting for the former champion to bounce back and reclaim her title. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for Rousey.
Nunes, known for her striking, dominated Rousey and prevented her from getting into a clinch which is almost always Rousey’s plan of attack. Being a Olympic bronze medalist in Judo, Rousey’s arsenal of various throws and submissions is deadly, winning most of her fights by submission due to armbar. Unfortunately for Rousey she just wasn’t prepared for the fight, mentally or in terms of her game plan, and took another loss.
Ronda Rousey’s record speaks for itself. She was once labeled the most dominant athlete in sports, from her staredown to her submissions. However, in her recent fights we’ve seen her become too emotionally involved which is something you cannot do in fighting. You need to stay calm and collected, able to adjust to the fight and your opponent in order to defeat them. After her devastating loss to Nunes, we can see that she still hasn’t mentally overcome her loss to Holly Holm or improved on her striking game.
Nunes is a great striker, landing significant blows to her opponent at different angles making it difficult to know where her blows will be coming from. Similar to Holm in that regard, both being well-known strikers, they are able to control fights that remain standing. Rousey can control fights when they go into a clinch or she has an opportunity to make a throw. She is not a world class striker and to make it in the UFC now as a champion, you have to be able to hold your own when on your feet. Being a submission specialist, she needs to be able to adjust to get her opponent to the ground and with the way she’s been eating punches in her recent fights, we can see she hasn’t adjusted to overcome a fighter with a strong striking background.
I think that mentally, Rousey just wasn’t there. It was evident that she hadn’t worked on her striking and defense and she lost. However, I think she can recover if her mind is right. I’m a big Rousey fan because she was a pioneer, bringing women’s fighting to the UFC and became the first UFC female champion after holding titles at Strikeforce. I also have a blue belt in Judo so I like that we have Judo in common.
The idea that true champions never lose is wrong. True champions come back from a loss and regain their title. Georges St. Pierre lost his title to Matt Serra, who wasn’t in the same realm as GSP. GSP saw the errors he made and made a comeback, regaining his title and establishing himself as one of the most dominant pound-for-pound fighters of all time. I think Rousey can do the same once she gets her head on straight. Jon Jones tweeted, “My advice to Ronda would be to pick yourself up and try again.” I agree with Jones because like him, Ronda isn’t done in the UFC, she still has plenty of potential. Conor McGregor, one of the most electric fighters in the UFC and arguably the face of the current face of the franchise, lost to Nate Diaz. He has three MMA losses. Being a champion is a mentality and McGregor has it. Rousey needs to reclaim it.
After the fight, Rousey said that she wants to take time to reflect and think about her future. With her modeling, movie roles, and writing, she has a lot going for her outside of fighting. She also could remain in the UFC and fight her way back to the top. She has options. However, going into the Nunes fight, I think she should’ve had that goal of staying in the UFC solidified once she took the Nunes fight, but she wouldn’t be the first fighter to step away from the sport in that fashion. “Iron” Mike Tyson did a similar move after he lost his passion for the sport and if Rousey has done the same, she has plenty of potential in other arenas, or octagons. I’d like to see her come back, but she has some work to do. The Ronda of old used to have fun in the octagon, she needs to get back to that and she’ll be a champion again.